Background Maps

Overview

Air pollution background concentration maps are published by Defra and the Devolved Administrations to assist local authorities in carrying out Review and Assessment of local air quality as part of their duties under the Environmental Act 1995.

The main purpose of the background maps is to provide estimates of background concentrations for specific pollutants. These can then be used in air quality assessments to better understand the contribution of local sources to total pollutant concentrations. They provide information on how pollutant concentrations change over time and across a wide area; they also provide an estimated breakdown of the relative sources of pollution. The maps allow for the assessment of new pollutant sources that are introduced into an area and the impact they may have upon local air quality.

Background maps are updated by Defra periodically due to updates to underlying data, including emissions factors. Local authorities should use the most up-to-date data and supporting tools made available.

Current Version

Documents

2018 Reference Year Background Maps

Hosted on www.uk-air.defra.gov.uk

Background Maps User Guide

Released: August 2020 (PDF, 1.1MB, 44 pages)

Details

Please Note: Users of the updated LAQM tools should be aware that the projections in the 2018 reference year background maps and associated tools are based on assumptions which were current before the Covid-19 outbreak in the UK. In consequence these tools do not reflect short or longer term impacts on emissions in 2020 and beyond resulting from behavioural change during the national or local lockdowns.

Previous Version

Documents

2017 Reference Year Background Maps

Hosted on www.uk-air.defra.gov.uk

Background Maps User Guide

Released: May 2019 (PDF, 0.9MB, 40 pages)

Details

Whilst local authorities are advised to use the latest version of the background maps for all future work, in support of ongoing work, the previous version of the background maps has been provided. For years earlier than 2017 visit the UK-Air Background Maps homepage for more information.

For older versions of the Background Maps User Guide please contact the LAQM Helpdesk for further assistance.

LAQM Helpdesk
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